The Paradox of the Means
JANUARY 01, 1963
The author, a resident of
Recently an incident occurred in the East Sector of Berlin which claimed public attention, an incident involving freedom of the press—or lack thereof. Two individuals working for the newspaper, Neue Zeit, were arrested by the Staatssicherheitdienst, a service which protects the security and interests of the state. The reason for the arrest was a printing mistake, a reversal of initials. Unfortunately, in this case the reversal resulted in a rather uncomfortable change of meaning, for Ulbricht, who is first secretary of the Central Committee (ZK), was referred to as the first secretary of the KZ (concentration camp). A slight typographical error—resulting in the arrest of the typesetter and the proofreader.
We may wince at this instance of communist power and its ruthless control over the citizens, but we are in danger of heading toward this same state of affairs ourselves if we continue to believe that it is possible to sacrifice the means for the end.
Many well-intentioned citizens of the United States today, in an effort to combat communist infiltration, are so bent upon purging our country of this alien ideology that they are willing to stoop to any means of stamping out its influence, believing that any action aimed at destroying communism can be justified on the grounds that we are saving America from an inner destruction by subversive forces. Their attention is focused on the end they wish to achieve rather than on the means of achieving it. Unfortunately, however, by adopting a means in direct violation to the concept inherent in the end, that end, rather than moving closer, recedes farther into the background and is apt to become completely lost to sight.
The problem of protecting our freedom is indeed a difficult one. Communism has an inevitable appeal and a faithful following, even among intellectuals who are educated sufficiently to be well aware of hidden ramifications involved in achieving their utopian end, ramifications which are not within the mental reach of all adherents to communism. Communists and their ideas will continue to crop up here and there: in student organizations, in newspapers, in art, in the teaching of some college professors. If we want to completely eradicate this subversive element in our society so that it does not contaminate the public mind, then force must be adopted, the very tool the communist himself uses to suppress opposition to his doctrine.
The only agency whose power is extensive enough to do a thorough and effective job of erasing all traces of communism from within our borders is the government. A less complete method would not be successful. It is tempting, then, to turn to government force in hopes of cleansing our society and preserving our freedom. However, those who support this idea fail to see that the logical conclusion is not the preservation but rather the destruction of our freedom, for in sacrificing our freedom we destroy it. The danger lies in the fact that, in giving power to the government, we are placing ourselves in the same helpless position of the citizens in
If we wish to be brainwashed, to be filled with carefully controlled propaganda, then we should employ the use of government force to wipe the communist doctrine from our country. This is